Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Colt New Service Project: part 1

This is another project I agreed to take on. I am not sure what can be done at this point, but at the very least I can make it look pretty again.

This is a Colt New Service double action revolver. The New Service was introduced in 1898 and discontinued after WWII in 1946. In the 48 years of production they made roughly 356,000 of these guns in nine different chamberings. The gun has a large frame, about on par with an N-Frame Smith & Wesson. These guns were built when quality actually meant something.....look at the checkering on the hammer.....they just don't do it like this anymore.

Here is what the gun looks like now: 
Someone removed the ejector rod, it appears to have been cut off at the crane
The barrel was cut down to 4 1/2" from what I believe was a 7 1/2" barrel, of course the front sight was not put back on. The barrel shortening was prompted by a squib that got stuck in the barrel, followed by a second shot that bulged the barrel.
 This is not a very good picture, but the bore actually looks pretty good for being 101 years old.

The finish is pretty worn,. light rust, very few pits.

 Here is what the gun probably looked like when new:

This particular gun was made in 1913 and chambered in .38 W.C.F.. For those that do not know, the .38 Winchester Center Fire is not the same as the .38 S&W or .38 Special, in fact it is not even .357 or .38 caliber. The .38 W.C.F. is also known as the .38-40 and is a .40 caliber cartridge.
Here is a picture of the .38 W.C.F. along with some more popular cartridges from left to right: .40 S&W, .38 W.C.F., .44 Special & .45 ACP

 Some of the New Service guns were given the "Fitz Special" make-over. John Henry Fitzgerald was an employee at Colt and converted many Colt revolvers to his design by shortening the barrels, boobing the hammers and removing the front part of the trigger guard.
This would make an interesting project if we were to covert this gun to a Fitz Special. We could:
  1. Shorten the barrel to 2" 
  2. Remove the front of the trigger guard
  3. Have the cylinder modified to accept .40 Super cartridges using M1917 moon clips.
  4. Cut the grip frame down to Detective Special dimensions (if possible) and add a Tyler T-grip
  5. Swap the cylinder release for one off a Python or Trooper(if possible)
  6. Have the gun nickel plated or put a high polish blue job on it
 The .40 Super is a .45 ACP necked down to .40 caliber. The dimensions of the two cartridges are close enough, the chambers could be reamed slightly to make it work (see picture below). The loads would have to be kept around the 20,000 psi mark. Although i would probably be easier just to buy the brass and load the original 38-40 cartridge, but where's the fun in that?

It might look something like this.

Or perhaps this:
 This gun is a Colt New Service in .45 Colt that was modified by Master Gunsmith Andy Horvath for a guy that goes by the name Voodoosan. They did most of my proposed modifications with the exception of the trigger guard & moon clip cylinder mod.

It's a thought, we will have to see what the owner would like.


If you need to find the build date of your Colt, you might be able to find it here: 

1 comment: